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Tampa Bay AirFest guests tour aircraft at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 30, 2024. The air show featured a variety of aerial performances and static aircraft displays aimed at inspiring the next generation of military aviators. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Hastings)

Tampa, Florida. (March 30, 2024): Thousands of patriotic Americans turned out this week for the Tampa Bay AirFest held at MacDill Air Force Base that featured death-defying aerial performances, live commando demonstrations, and static aircraft displays. In this photo by Senior Airman Joshua Hastings, visitors get a chance to board giant transport planes and sit in a helicopter cockpit all while getting to know the servicemembers who fly them.

In addition to the Air Force’s premier air demonstration squadron, the "Thunderbirds", visitors were treated to the final season for the A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Squadron. The veritable “Wart Hog” is being retired after many years as the Air Force's premier close air support aircraft credited with saving thousands American lives.

Crowds received an awe-inspiring parachute demonstration the Para-Commandos of US Special Operations Command and a performance involving men walking calmly through fire. Officially called the Firewalkers International, this team has years of experience providing exciting pyrotechnic shows around the world. The Firewalkers have recently presented shows throughout the United States, Canada, El Salvador, UAE, China, and Australia.

For thousands of Tampa Bay residents, the AirFest 24 was a chance to get to know our military and hopefully inspire a new generation to choose the field of aviation.